-by Luke Lashley
I grew up in Fort Worth and I remember learning about Red Productions around my freshman year of high school. A few years later, it was probably 2010, I watched their old production reel with Kanye West’s “All Of The Lights” as the soundtrack and I remember thinking to myself, how did Red Productions do it? I knew what camera they shot on, what software they used to edit, the gear they used, my questions weren’t technical. My questions were more like “what’s their secret formula?”. To put it in perspective, imagine growing up aspiring to be a cook and grill burgers for people someday. You do all you can to learn about what’s involved in making a good burger and how to properly grill a patty, but when you see somebody in your hometown starting a burger grilling company that makes the best burgers around and having great success, you ask yourself “what’s different about their burgers?”.
There were a few occasions where I was able to speak to Red prior to my internship where I more or less asked him what his secret formula was. Red was very helpful and he told me his story of attending school at TCU and getting the opportunity to shoot a Coca-Cola ad, but I knew there had to be more to the success of his company than just good timing. That’s when I decided I wanted to intern at Red Productions and hopefully get an inside look. So I applied, took my culture index test, interviewed with Lauren, and luckily I got the internship. The internship was somewhat of a golden ticket, a summer-long tour inside the factory where I could see how the chocolate was made. But to my surprise, when I arrived the place seemed pretty normal.
After the first week or so I was still hoping to get ahold of that secret formula so I told Lauren that I had some questions, she relayed that to Red, and Red took me to lunch. As always he was incredibly open and helpful and I learned a lot, but I still couldn’t figure out what made Red Productions so successful and it was becoming borderline frustrating. How can I be working at the best burger place in town and still not know why their burgers are the best? After more than a month of working at Red Productions it started to dawn on me that the reason Red Productions is successful is because everybody on the Red Productions team really loves what they do. That is their secret formula and it’s not a secret at all. It’s actually very obvious. If you spend any small amount of time with the Red Productions team you will see it first hand.
I arrived on set one day to help set up for the Ogle School shoot. There was no working AC at the time and the set was in a large concrete building. I was talking to Matt Munson about how he had been there with the crew for two days setting up in the blistering heat and I made some remark about the lack of AC. Munson, with a very non-sarcastic tone, replied “Yeah, it’s actually been a lot of fun” and had a smile on his face. There was an afternoon where Sam was giving me some pointers on After Effects and letting me sit in on an edit. He was painstakingly finagling a graphic of an agave leaf to bounce over the footage in a specific way he wanted. When most people would find that trial and error process extremely frustrating I could tell Sam was truly enjoying it. There were times where it wouldn’t work and he would say “Darnit”, laugh about it, and try again. Working with Matt Harton is the same way. When I help him put together storyboards for clients I can tell he really takes pride in the quality of the story boards and is having fun envisioning the shoot before it happens. Even Scott was having a good time during the TCU football shoot, giving himself a few minutes of screen time planting a flag on the 50-yard line.
Perhaps the “secret formula” of loving what you do is an obvious one, but it can be easily overlooked these days. Red Productions has done an awesome job of building a team full of people that love what they do, and it is reflected in the quality of their work. It reminded me of Spongebob in a way. That dude loved his job at the Krusti Krab and really enjoyed grilling up some Krabby Patties. That’s why they were the best burgers in town.
Luke Lashley is one of our awesome summer interns. We’re currently accepting applications for Fall 2015 Internships.